Albert Sprenger, Jr. joins Historical Society Board of Trustees

Mar 12, 2024 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

Al Sprenger, left, is Catawba Island Historical Society’s newest board member. He is shown here with his wife, Stephanie. (Submitted photo)

The Catawba Island Historical Society (CIHS) has elected Albert Sprenger Jr. to serve on its Board of Trustees effective March 13. His participation brings the membership of the organization’s governing body to 11 volunteers with a common interest in preserving and protecting local heritage.

Sprenger’s ancestors moved to Port Clinton from Sandusky in 1846. Sprenger grew up in Toledo but spent his summers boating and swimming off the Lake Erie Islands. Catawba Island has been his home for the last six years, and he plans to build a new house along Sand Road at the junction of Portage and Catawba Island Townships.

His interest in history first bubbled to the surface while studying political science at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. He graduated with the rank of Ensign in 1995 and subsequently spent ten years as a Navy pilot and flight instructor in Florida, Texas and Oklahoma, accumulating over 1800 flight hours. Along the way, he also earned an MBA at Cornell University and a Masters in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (the Harvard of the Sky).

“Growing up in this area I learned a great deal about the Battle of Lake Erie. The fact that Commodore Perry’s original Don’t Give Up the Ship flag was prominently displayed in Memorial Hall at the Naval Academy provided extra inspiration to me as a first-year midshipman,” Sprenger said. “It was like having a friend from back home urging me to do well with what was a very difficult training regimen.”

The civilian business sector enticed Sprenger to leave the Navy in 2004. He went directly into the clinical application and sales of implantable pacemakers and defibrillators. During the last 12 years he has been responsible for Ohio and Indiana activity in the Cardiac Rhythm Management Division of Abbott. He and his wife, Stephanie, own and operate Spa Catawba on State Route 269 in Lakeside Marblehead.

“Bringing Al Sprenger onto our board of trustees is part of a conscious effort by the historical society to identify and involve the next generation of our leadership,” said David Wonnell, President of CIHS. “Several members of our board have served with us since the society was founded in 2017. Retirements from our ranks are not far distant. We will be looking to Al and others like him to perpetuate the society’s mission from that point forward.”

Catawba Island Historical Society was created in 2017 to house, display and elaborate upon the trappings of area history. It pursues this mission from a former non-denominational sabbath school and house of worship constructed in 1888 at the north end of Catawba Island. The facility is now called Union Chapel Museum and is open seasonally from mid-May to mid-October. There is no charge for admission.

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